The Relativity of Reality

Second-Order Change in Psychotherapy
  • E. Thomas Dowd
  • Terry M. Pace


The view that people are active participants in the construction of their own reality is the hallmark of constructivist approaches to psychological theory, which stands in contrast to purely empiricist approaches to psychology. Modern psychology, especially in America, has been dominated by empiricism. Both behaviorism (e.g., Hull, 1943; Skinner, 1974; Watson, 1925) and its chief competitor, information-processing psychology (e.g., Anderson & Bower, 1973; Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968; Newell & Simon, 1972) are tied to empiricist philosophy that holds that reality exists independently of the perceiver and that knowledge is acquired only through sensory experience. Weimer (1977) has described this common metatheoretical base of both behaviorism and information-processing psychology as a sensory metatheory of the mind.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Thomas Dowd
    • 1
  • Terry M. Pace
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyKent State UniversityKentUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA

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